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Tuesday, August 10, 2021

A korbn fun kapital (A Victim of Capitalism) to an old Vaudeville waltz tune.

The original song is "I'm Tying the Leaves So They Won't Come Down," a 1907 tearjerker with music by J. Fred Helf (many of his songs have Yiddish parodies) and original words by E. S. S. Huntington. Louis Gilrod wrote this text. 

Jim Baird played guitar and bass for this living room recording of earlier today:

The original lyrics were exceptionally cloying: a young lad, overhearing that his friend will die in the fall, wants to tie the leaves on the trees so fall never comes. The Yiddish lyrics are about the horrors of capitalism. Translation and transliteration after the jump.


 A korbn fun kapital
Melody from the English song
I'm Tying the Leaves so They won't Come Down
by Louis Gilrod 9-4

Der arbeter shtikt zikh in fabrik. Der boss zayner drikt un roybt zayn glik.
Dem arbeters froy veynt un klogt. Dos kranke kind shtarbt der doktor zogt.
Di muter bazigt, zi falt avek. Der foter er krigt fun boss di sek.
Dos kleyne kind shtarbt fun noyt in kval: a blut yunger korbn fun kapital.

A blutiker korbn fun kapital -- Ver ken bagrayfn dem tsar
Ver vet dervakhn un farlangen zofort a blutike rakhe derfar?
Shteyt uf un tseshmetert dem got Mammon, farnikhtet dem yomer tol!
Dervakht un bashitst mit der royter fon yeder korbn fun kapital!

A meydele kleyn (fun fuftsn yor) muz arbetn geyn in fekteri gor.
A foter, a muter, kinderlekh fir, zey vern ale dernert fun ir.
Der bos varft an oyg af dem sheynem kind, tut vos im toyg, tsvingt zi tsu zind
Er zoygt oys ir blut, ir zaft, ir kheyn,
Er vert fun ir zat, dan heyst er ir geyn.

Der krizis iz shver, es vakst di noyt
Der mogn iz ler, es vinkt der toyt
Di kinderlekh veynen "Papa dir,
A shtikele broyt plis gib mir."
Shver vert dos herts, der papa er
Ken shoyn dem shmerts nit duldn mer.
Er flukht kapital zayn finstere gob.
In a talis varft er zikh fun dakh arop!

The worker suffocates in the factory.
His boss squeezes & steals away his happiness.
The worker's wife weeps and laments.
The sick child is dying, the doctor says.
The mother is defeated, she fades away.
The boss gives him the sack.
The little child dies from destitution,
A young blood sacrifice to capitalism.

A bloody sacrifice to capitalism,
who can comprehend the sorrow?
Who will awaken and demand
immediate, bloody vengeance?
Stand up and shatter the god Mammon!
Annihilate the valley of lamentation!
Awaken and with the red flat defend
Every victim of capitalism.

A little maiden, fifteen years old,
Must go work in the factory.
A father, a mother, four children,
She's supporting them all.
Her boss casts an eye over the pretty child.
He does what one expects: forces her into sin.
He sucks out her blood, her life force, her charm,
He is sated, then he tells her to go.

It's a serious crisis, destitution is growing.
The belly is empty, death is beckoning.
The children cry "Papa, dear,
Please give me a bit of bread."
The father's heart grows heavy.
He can't take the heartache any more.
He curses capitalism, gives his dark gift:
Wrapped in a tallis, he throws himself from the roof.

For sheet music and/or performances contact me:


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